An estimated 300 people have been killed by a cyclone that hit Somalia’s north-eastern Puntland region at the weekend.
Hundreds are still unaccounted for and thousands of livestock have perished in what the Puntland government describes as a disaster.
The cyclone, known as 03A, has caused torrential rains, high wind speeds and severe flooding, leading to a declaration of a state of emergency, with the government appealing for international aid.
Many fishermen “are missing and feared dead, the storm has destroyed entire villages, homes, buildings, and boats”, the government said in a statement.
Weather experts from the United Nations, UN, Food and Agriculture Organisation, FAO, confirmed flooding was severe.
“Given that Puntland is a semi-arid region, it rarely rains but when it does, to an extent we have seen, the impact is devastating,” Hussein Gadain, a senior FAO technical adviser, told the AFP news agency.
The UN World Food Programme said it was “working closely” with local authorities to assess the needs in the devastated Puntland region.
The main road between Puntland’s capital town of Garowe and the key port in Bossaso has been cut off by flood water, hampering delivering of relief supplies.
“The loaded and ready trucks cannot deliver supplies by road, as the heavy rains and flooding have rendered dirt roads to the coastal areas impassible,” the government said.
Somalia has been ravaged by civil war since the collapse of a central government in 1991.
Puntland, which forms the northeastern tip of the Horn of Africa, has its own government, although unlike neighbouring Somaliland, it has not declared independence from Somalia.